Beelink GT1-A Review: Is This Android TV Box Worth It?

The Beelink GT1-A is a powerful Android TV box that boasts support for 4K Netflix playback – something which only a handful of boxes can do. With the octacore Amlogic S912 processor under the hood and support for 4K Netflix, is the Beelink GT1-A worth it?

Beelink GT1-A Video Review

Beelink GT1-A Specifications and Features

CPU:Octacore Amlogic S912
GPU:ARM Mali-T820MP3
RAM:32GB DDR4
Storage:32GB (expandable up to 32GB via Micro SD)
Ports:HDMI, Ethernet, microSD, 2x USB 2.0, SP-DIF
Connectivity:Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi (2.4GHz/5GHz), Bluetooth 4.0
OS:Android TV 7.1
Size (Lx W x H):96 x 96 x 16mm
View Full Specifications

The Beelink GT1-A is an evolution of the popular Beelink GT1 Ultimate that came out a little while ago.

The octacore Amlogic S912 processor inside offers a smooth experience, with ample power for watching movies in Kodi, gaming and browsing the web.

The 3GB of RAM is plenty for most users and 32GB onboard storage is sufficient for most (though you can always expand it via the micro SD card slot)

Networking-wise, the Beelink GT1-A ticks quite a few boxes with gigabit ethernet and dual band wireless AC offering plenty of bandwidth for streaming videos and games.

What’s in the Box?

Inside the box, you get:

  • Beelink GT1-A Android TV Box
  • 5V 2A Power Adapter
  • 2.4GHz Wireless Remote (with USB dongle)
  • HDMI Cable
  • English User Manual
  • Customer Feedback Card

Beelink GT1-A Design

Now the Beelink GT1-A’s design hasn’t changed much since the original GT1 Ultimate – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The same geometric design, complete with gloss finish, is here. Even the “Ultimate” label has been kept which is a little odd.

The unit’s got a nice weight to it and a rubberised base so it doesn’t move around once everything’s connected.

In terms of ports, we’ve got USB 2.0 and micro SD on the left side, and DC in, USB 2.0, HDMI out, Ethernet and optical audio on the rear.

Having at least two USB ports is a must these days, particularly given that Beelink’s voice remote’s dongle takes up one right out of the gate.

Speaking of the remote, it’s pretty solid. It feels good in the hand and has all the key Android functionality. Holding down the microphone button triggers Google Assistant
so you can ask questions, access your home automation devices and more. Though I don’t like that you need to keep it held down the whole time or the remote’s microphone will turn off.

Also, as it uses 2.4GHz wireless, you don’t need line of sight which is awesome. However, as the remote’s USB dongle needs to be plugged in, it takes up one of the two precious USB ports which is a shame. An internal receiver would have been much better.

You can also use the Android TV Remote app to control the box but I’d recommend you get an air mouse for the best possible experience.

Beelink GT1-A Software

From the software side, the Beelink GT1-A ships with an almost stock Android TV 7.1 experience – designed from the ground up for remote use.

Everything’s organised into rows, including suggested content, apps and games.

Beelink GT1-A Android TV Launcher

You’ve got access to the Google Play store to install more apps – though you’ll get Android TV’s cut down selection. However, you can always sideload an alternative app store like Aptoide TV to fill in the gaps or just sideload apps directly.

  • Boot Time: 28 seconds
  • Pre-Installed Apps: File Browser, Media Center, StbEMU, DRM Info, Netflix, YouTube
  • Power On/Off: You can power the Beelink GT1-A on and off using the remote.
  • Google Play Store: The Google Play Store is available
  • Storage: 25/32GB free out of the box

Beelink GT1-A Firmware

Beelink GT1-A OTA Updates
The Beelink GT1-A supports OTA updates but nothing has been released at the time of publishing

OTA updates are supported but no updates were available at the time of publishing.

That said, Beelink usually release a few firmware updates after the release of a new device. I’d recommend checking out their official forums where firmware updates are posted.

Beelink GT1-A Video Playback Tests

Beelink GT1-A Video Playback Using Kodi

Kodi 18.1 Splash Screen

Video playback was tested using Kodi 18.1 downloaded from the Google Play store.

After setting up Kodi, videos were played from a USB 3.0 thumb drive or streamed over wifi from my server’s NFS share.

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Media playback on the Beelink GT1-A was good, handling most files without issue.

  • HDMI CEC: Available in Settings but didn’t work with my Samsung TV
Format (Resolution / Codec / Container / Framerate)StatusNotes
1080p 3D SBS H.264 (1920×2160 / AVC / MPEG-4 / 30fps)Ok
1080p 3D ABL H.264 (1920×1080 / AVC / BDAV / 23.976fps)Ok
1080p24 H.264 (1920×1080 / AVC / MPEG-4 / 24fps)Ok
1080p High Bitrate H.264 (1920×1080 / AVC / Matroska / 23.976fps)Ok
1080p60 H.264 (1920×1080 / AVC / MPEG-4 / 60fps)OkWasn’t always smooth
720p50 H.264 (1280×720 / AVC / MPEG-TS / 50fps)Ok
1080i25 H.264 (1920×1080 / AVC / MPEG-TS / 25fps)Ok
4K 30FPS H.264 (3840×2160 / AVC / MPEG-4 / 30fps)Ok
4K 60FPS H.264 (3840×2160 / AVC / MPEG-4 / 60fps)No
1080p24 HEVC (1920×1080 / HEVC / Matroska / 24fps)Ok
4K 30FPS 8-bit HEVC (3840×2160 / HEVC / MPEG-4 / 30fps)Ok
1080p VP8 (1920×1080 / VP8 / WebM / 25fps)Ok
720p Hi10p (1280×720 / AVC / Matroska / 23.976fps)Ok
1080p Hi10p (1920×1080 / AVC / Matroska / 23.976fps)No
1080p MPEG2 (1920×1080 / MPEG Video / MPEG-PS / 25fps)Ok
1080p VC1 (1920×1080 / VC-1 / Windows Media / 25fps)NoPlayed too fast
Unencrypted Bluray ISO (Sintel) (1920×1080 / AVC / AVC / 24fps)Ok

5.1 Audio Passthrough

Dolby Digital 5.1 passthrough over HDMI worked when set up in Kodi.

Streaming Services

Streaming ServiceVideoAudio
YouTube4K (2160p)Stereo
Netflix4K (2160p)Stereo
Amazon Prime VideoNot SupportedStereo
Google Play MoviesFull HD (1080p)Stereo

Netflix

As promised by Beelink’s marketing, the GT1-A supported 4K Netflix playback and has support Google Widevine L1 DRM. You don’t need to install Netflix from the Google Play store as its pre-installed.

However, I suspect that this works via a workaround rather than official Netflix certification so it’s possible it won’t be supported in the future.

For more information about Netflix on Android TV boxes, check out my HD Netflix on Android guide.

Chromecast Built-In

Chromecast Built-In Not Working

The Beelink GT1-A claims its got Chromecast built in (according to the screensaver at least). However, it simply doesn’t work.

Whilst the Beelink GT1-A appears as a Cast target in apps such as Netflix and YouTube, it’ll always fail to cast which is a shame.

Beelink GT1-A Gaming Performance

Beach Buggy Racing on Beelink GT1-A

Gaming performance was tested using my GameSir G4S controller (review) via Bluetooth with the following games:

Gaming performance was generally good. Titles such as Beach Buggy Racing playing well when maxxed out. More demanding titles like Asphalt 8 remained playable, but I did have to drop settings pretty significantly.

Emulator Performance

Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped on ePSXe
Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped on ePSXe

The octocore Amlogic S912 inside the Beelink GT1-A makes the device a decent choice as an emulation machine.

Super Nintendo, N64 and PS1 played well though PSP emulation via PPSSPP was too much for the Amlogic S912 inside.

Steam In-Home Streaming

With its excellent wireless hardware and strong CPU, the GT1-A can handle Steam In-Home Streaming via the Android app on the Google Play store.

I was able to play using the “Beautiful” preset over wifi which requires 30mb/s of bandwidth, though a wired connection would probably improve performance.

Beelink GT1-A Benchmarks Comparison

BenchmarkScore
Antutu 7.2.045698
GeekBench 4.3.2 Single Core555
GeekBench 4.3.2 Multi Core2183
3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited8269
3DMark Ice Storm Extreme3962
3DMark Slingshot523

Beelink GT1-A Networking Performance

Network performance was measured using WiFi Speed Test 3 times for each connection type, with the average presented below.

Networking speeds were good, with no issues streaming 4K content wirelessly over the network.

NetworkUpload (Mbps)Download (Mbps)
2.4GHz4239
5GHz211225
Ethernet529591

Beelink GT1-A Power Consumption

Operating StatePower Consumption (W)
Powered Off0.0W
Standby3.0W
Idle3.3W
1080p Video Playback5.2W
Full Load6.3W

Should You Buy The Beelink GT1-A?

The Beelink GT1-A is certainly a strong step in the right direction for Beelink. There’s still some issues/bugs like the broken Chromecast support and limited support for services outside of YouTube and Netflix.

However, Performance was good across the board and 4K Netflix solves arguably the biggest gripe most users have with these cheaper Android TV boxes.

Where to Buy the Beelink GT1-A

The Beelink GT1-A is available from Amazon and GearBest.

Check Price at Amazon
The Beelink GT1-A addresses many of the complaints of many Android TV boxes whilst offering good specs at a good price but there's still quirks to be aware of.
7.4

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